As the warmer months approach, dandelions will start growing all over the yard. The plant seems edible, so you may wonder if your chickens can eat them.
So, can chickens eat dandelions? Yes, chickens can eat dandelions, including the leaves, stems, and roots. While dandelions are weeds that grow in the wild, they are safe, edible, and nutritious for chickens to eat. Be aware of the area that the dandelions grow. It could be treated with chemicals such as herbicides and pesticides. These chemicals are harmful to the chickens, and could even be fatal. Therefore, be sure to only pick dandelions that you know are chemical-free.
Are Dandelions Safe For Chickens?
Dandelions are safe for chickens to eat since the plant don’t contain any toxin. All parts of the dandelion can be fed to the chickens without any issue.
However, while the dandelion itself doesn’t pose any danger to the chickens where it’s grown can. Dandelions are wildflowers, which means they grow by themselves in the yard.
If the yard or the area that the dandelion grows in is treated with pesticides, herbicides, and other chemicals, it causes harm to the chickens.
In small quantities, the toxin will just make the chickens sick. In large amounts, it can be fatal for them.
Therefore, it’s best to pick dandelions from an area that is chemical-free if you’re planning to feed them to your chickens.
Is It Healthy For Chickens To Eat Dandelions?
Every part of the dandelion is edible and packed with nutrition. This plant has more vitamin K than carrots!
Dandelion greens are one of the healthiest plants that you can feed your chickens.
One cup of chopped, raw dandelion greens contains:
- Calories 25
- Protein 1.5g
- Fat .04g
- Carbs 5.1g
- Fiber 1.9g
- Sugar 0.4
Below are some of the health benefits of feeding dandelions to your chickens:
Dandelions have a good amount of calcium. This is important for producing quality eggs. The eggshells are made up of calcium, so hens need plenty of this mineral.
Not only calcium good for producing stronger eggs, but keeping the hens strong and healthy.
Dandelions have vitamins and minerals that can act as a laying stimulant. This is important for egg-laying hens. It will help promote healthy laying and produce quality eggs.
Chickens are known to eat just about everything they can find that’s edible. Dandelions are a good source of fiber, which will help aid in digestion.
With a good amount of fiber in their diet, food will move smoothly through their digestive tract.
Also, it will help prevent constipation in chickens.
Can Baby Chickens Eat Dandelions?
Yes, baby chickens can eat dandelions. If the chicks are allowed to free roam, they will follow their mother around, and she will teach them how to eat the plant.
While dandelions are nutritious for them, it’s still important to provide them with starter feed. This feed has been formulated with the right amount of nutrition to help them grow strong and healthy.
Can Chickens Eat Dandelion Leaves?
Chickens can definitely eat dandelion leaves. The leaves contain the most nutrition of the entire dandelion. It is a good source of calcium, iron, riboflavin, potassium, thiamine, manganese, magnesium, and vitamin C.
Again, when picking the leaves, make sure the area is not contaminated with toxic substances like pesticides and herbicides.
Also, check the leaves for any parasites, worms, and animal droppings. All of these could potentially make your chicken sick.
Dandelion leaves are best harvested during the spring. It will be more tender and have a milder flavor than those in the summer.
Where Can You Find Dandelions?
During the spring and summer, dandelions will start to grow all over your backyard and in the fields. In some parts of the country, particularly in the south, dandelions may grow all through the winter.
They are easy to recognize with their jagged green leaves and brilliant yellow flowers.
Another place that you can find dandelions is at your local grocery stores. During the season when it’s plentiful, many stores will sell them. Most dandelions that are sold at the store will be chemical-free. This is great since you don’t want any toxins that could potentially harm your chickens.
How Do You Feed Dandelions To Your Chickens
If you allow your chickens to free roam, they’ll eat the dandelions on their own. Some may eat only the flower, others will eat just the leaves, and others will eat every part of it.
For free-roaming chickens, make sure the area that they are eating the dandelions from has not been treated with chemicals.
For chickens that are kept in the run or not allowed to roam freely, you can pick the dandelions and toss the entire plant to them. The chickens will peck and eat it.
Another way to feed dandelions to your chickens throughout the year is dried dandelions. All you need to do is pick the weeds when they are available and dry them.
During the winter, you can mix the dried dandelions with the treats or feed.
How Many Dandelions Should You Feed Your Chickens?
When it comes to dandelions, the plant is considered green, which means the chickens can eat as much as they like.
You won’t need to worry about how much they’ll eat since they instinctively know how much to eat.
How Often Should You Feed Your Chickens Dandelions?
Since dandelions are safe and considered green, this plant can be fed to them on a daily basis.
During the warmer months, when they are growing all over the yard, they will peck and eat dandelions every day.
Other Flowers That Chickens Can Eat
Roses make a good treat for chickens to eat. The flower comes with many nutritional and medicinal benefits. Rose acts as an antiseptic and an antibacterial agent. All parts of the flower are safe for them to eat, but it’s recommended to feed them just the rose petals since it’s soft and easy for them to digest.
Marigolds are abundant when the weather is warmer. They are popular among gardeners due to their brilliant colors and the flower is a pest repellant.
For chickens, they help promote the development of new tissue. Marigolds also have antioxidants that help prevent illness and diseases.
Egg-laying hens will lay eggs with bright yellow yolks if they are given marigolds to eat.
Pansies not only make the garden more attractive, but they have many health benefits for chickens. The flower is a good source of carotenoids, tannin, salicylic acid, and vitamin C.
Pansies will help relieve muscular pain and lower blood pressure.
Dandelions are safe for chickens to eat, but you need to make sure that there are no chemicals used where the plant is growing. A small amount of chemicals will cause them to become ill, but a large amount of them could kill them. As long as the dandelions are chemical-free, they will enjoy eating them and gain a lot of healthy benefits from them, too.